Ghosts & Oogles?

What are the low country ghost legends known as Oogles?

In the lowcountry, that is the four counties of South Carolina that surround Charleston, there are legends of ghosts, goblins, and other dark entities that supposedly come out at night and search the streets for unsuspecting victims. While visiting Charleston, for example, ask someone about the local tales of haunting, pirates, or hags (the spirit of an old woman that bothers a person) that are said to still trouble the living. You'll be sure to find the lowcountry rich in folklore.

To ward off such unwanton spirits, some locals carry what is called an "oogle" with them in pocket. What is an oogle, you may ask? It is a small, strange-looking, clay figurine that is said to ward off evil spirits.

One flyer we found accompanying the oogles we encountered had this to say about them:

"Here in the Lowcountry, legend has it that after dark the streets fill with ghosts and goblins roaming about scaring anyone that doesn't have an Oogle to protect them. Now Oogles may be strange looking little critters, but don't let their size fool you. They can and will take care of any size ghost or goblin."

Such superstitious beliefs beg the question, "Are ghosts frightened by emblems, figurines, or relics?" Probably not, unless the disembodied human spirit was raised to be superstitious and believes in such lore. For example, some ghosts that had a religious upbringing might be frightened by a priest brandishing holy water and a cross. The emblems themselves do not hold any power, but the belief that they somehow do is where their strength lies. The power of fear is a very strong motivator. If somebody believes that something can harm them, then to that person, such beliefs seem very real. Beyond that, we see such legends and lore as just superstitions. As for Oogles, well, they are interesting bits of charming folklore that continue to survive within our culture.